Pope Francis to make film debut

Pontiff will play himself in Beyond The Sun.

by Jennie Kermode

Pope Francis
Pope Francis Photo: Casa Rosada, licensed under Creative Commons

He's already known for his unconventional behaviour, but now Pope Francis is set to make his debut the silver screen. He will play himself in children's film Beyond The Sun, which is said to be spiritual in nature and based on the Gospels. It is understood to have been inspired by the Pope's request that filmmakers find innovative ways to present the story of Jesus Christ to young audiences.

Profits from the film, which is expected to be a hit with young Catholic viewers, will go to children's charities based in Argentina. Shooting will take place in Italy.

Despite what many commentators have suggested, Francis will not actually be the first pope to appear in a film. That honour goes to Pope Pius XII, who appeared in Embezzled Heaven in 1958, also playing himself.

Pope Francis has often spoken about his love of film, saying that his favourites are Rome, Open City, La Strada and Babette's Feast. He has met film stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg and Angelina Jolie. The Vatican has stressed, however, that he is not an actor.

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